Skip to main content

Full text of "Metalworking"

See other formats

PMC Pendants 


Make Projects 

build, hack, tweak, share, discover, J 

PMC Pendants 

Written By: Robyn Kleinhans 


Brash brush (1) 
for a high polish 

Burnishing tool (1) 

Butane torch (1) 

with a mesh screen to hold your jewelry 
while firing; available at kitchen supply 
stores. A firebrick can be used in place 
of a mesh screen 

Clay sculpting tools (1) 

Flexible sanding pads (1) 

Jar (small) 

for quenching jewelry 

PVC pipe (3 1 / 2 " length) 
to roll out your PMC clay 

Paintbrush (1) 

to smooth any cracks 

Plastic container (1) 

Toothpick or a drinking straw (1) 


Leather cord or silver chain (1) 

Silver precious metal clay plus (PMC+) 
(6 grams) 

available online or check your local craft 
or bead shops 

Old playing cards (8) 

to gauge for thickness. Tape together 2 

sets of 4 cards each 

Sculpy clay (1) 

for mold making, available at any hobby 


Nonstick work surface (1) 

a document protector works well 

Olive oil (1) 

so PMC doesn't stick to your work 

surface or fingers 

Small relief patters for your pendant 
molds (3) 

Choose anything with an interesting 
pattern that you'd like to depict on your 
pendants, such as rubber stamps. 

© Make Projects 

Page 1 of 1 1 

PMC Pendants 

leaves, shells, even small plastic toys, 
These items should be 3 A" across. 

Misting bottle (1) 

Jump rings (1) 

to secure your finished piece 


Precious metal clay (PMC), developed in the 1990s by the Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, 
is actually powdered metal suspended in a clay-like binding medium. It is a very user- 
friendly material. You can mold it, stamp it, shape it, file it, carve it, glaze it, and texture it 
while it's in its clay-like form. After air-drying, the finished piece is fired either by a torch or 
in a kiln. During the firing process the binding medium burns off, leaving molecules of metal 
that have no choice but to fuse together. The finished product is a shiny sculpture of silver 
or gold! Let's begin! 

© Make Projects Page 2 of 1 1 

PMC Pendants 

When working with PMC, think through the entire project before starting — this 


material, unlike regular clay, can be expensive to waste (thus the name precious!). • 

Before beginning your project, read through all the instructions and consider the following 
design questions: 

• 1. What are you going to make? If making a pendant (as in this project) or earrings, how 
will the piece hang when worn? 

• 2. Will you need to attach a jump ring for a chain or cord to go through? Or will the bail 
(loop) be integrated into your piece? 

• 3. Will the piece have texture? Texture can be applied on both sides of your project if 
you roll out your piece 4-6 cards thick. 

• 4. Are you are going to make a mold to help shape your clay? If so, follow the 
instructions enclosed with your Sculpey first. 

Other things to consider: PMC works best when compressed or worked in toward 
the center of your piece rather than smeared out toward the edges. You want your 
finished piece to be smooth around the edges and comfortable to wear. Your piece will 
shrink 10%-12%, so size your piece accordingly. Rings should not be attempted for this 
first project; you will need to purchase additional items and you'll need the shrinkage 
formula for rings. 

© Make Projects 

Page 3 of 1 1 

PMC Pendants 

Before making molds for our 3 pendants, we need to choose 3 patterns. Almost anything 
with a relief pattern can be used to make a mold. Leaves, flowers, patterns on rocks, 
shells, small plastic toys, or rubber stamps can make wonderful and unusual patterns and 
shapes. I made one of my patterns with leftover clay and the others with rubber stamps. 
For this project you'll make 3 small molds, each not exceeding W, so your patterns should 
be no larger than W across. 

© Make Projects 

Page 4 of 1 1 

PMC Pendants 

• Pinch some Sculpey and roll it into a %" ball. Smash the ball down until it's about 1" thick 
and approximately the shape of your pattern. Now press your pattern gently into the clay, 
making an even impression. Remove your pattern. Make 2 more molds of the same size 
with different patterns. 

• Bake all 3 molds according to the manufacturer's instructions. After the molds are 
done baking, remove them from the oven — they'll be hot to the touch, so use 

© Make Projects 

Page 5 of 1 1 

PMC Pendants 

Create a microclimate for your nonstick work surface by misting your small plastic 
container with water. Place the plastic container upside down in the upper right- or left- 
hand corner of your work surface — this will house the metal clay until you need it. 

Coat your PVC "roller," work surface, hands, and any tools you may be using with olive oil 
Then take out your PMC and put it under your plastic container. 

Place your 2 sets of playing cards 2" apart in the center of your work surface. 

© Make Projects 

Page 6 of 1 1 

PMC Pendants 

Take about Va of your PMC (leaving the rest safely inside its container) and place it 
between the 2 sets of cards on your work surface. Gently place the PVC roller on your 
lump of PMC and lightly push the clay down. Use a gentle touch to roll evenly, picking up 
the clay and turning it as necessary, to achieve the size you want. Stop rolling when the 
PVC roller lies evenly on both sets of cards (think of the PVC pipe as a level). 

Pick up your PMC and gently press it into your mold. Make sure to apply enough pressure 
to get the details in your mold, but not enough to tear your clay. Then carefully remove 
your PMC from the mold. 

To create a bail (loop) to accommodate your chain, use a slim drinking straw as a form 
and simply bend your piece at 1 end around the straw. Then the bail for the chain actually 
becomes a part of your design. Or, if you'd rather attach your piece with a metal jump ring, 
as those shown in the opening photo, use a toothpick to place a hole about 2mm in from 
the outer edge. Not too close! Make your hole large enough for a jump ring to go through. 
Remember, the hole will shrink about 2%, but you can drill it out afterward with a small 
handheld drill and a 1 .5mm bit, if need be. 

Check the edges of your piece. If there are any jagged edges that you don't want to use as 
part of your design, gently work the rough the edges in toward the center of your clay 

NOTE: If you find that your piece is beginning to dry out, simply cover it with a 
small piece of plastic wrap or put it back into the microclimate for about 10 minutes. 

© Make Projects 

Page 7 of 1 1 

PMC Pendants 

You can either air-dry your pieces overnight, or put them into an oven or toaster oven set 
to 275° for about 30-45 minutes. Use tweezers when removing your pieces from the oven 
— they will be very hot. 

Check to make sure your pieces are completely dry by placing them on a small mirror. If 
there is any condensation under your pieces, there's still moisture and they need more 
time to dry. No condensation indicates the pieces are ready to fire. 

© Make Projects 

Page 8 of 1 1 

PMC Pendants 

• When your pieces are bone dry, 
they become very fragile! Use 
sandpaper to gently smooth out 
any rough edges. Handle your 
creation with a light touch, sanding 
the edges with extreme care while 
supporting the piece. Avoid 
handling the delicate areas of your 
pieces as much as possible. 

• Prepare a small glass jar with 
water to quench your piece after 
firing. Then dim the lights in your 
work area so that you'll be able to 
see the color change. 

• CAUTION: Before firing 
your pieces, make sure you 
and your environment are 
protected! Tie your hair back and 
make sure your workspace is clean 
and safe by keeping flammables 
and loose clothing away from the 

© Make Projects 

Page 9 of 1 1 

PMC Pendants 

• Now you're ready to fire. Firing requires keen observation — it's important that you 
keep the flame moving around the piece so it won't burn or lose too much heat. 

• Place your item on a mesh screen or firebrick, on top of a fireproof surface. Turn on your 
torch according to the torch manufacturer's directions. Hold the torch at a 45° angle, about 
3"-6" away from your piece. Remember to keep the torch moving — don't keep the flame 
on one area! Slowly heat the piece, using an even, circular motion. The item will begin to 

• Continue moving in a circular motion until the piece catches on fire — this is the binding 
agent burning away. Once it's on fire, keep your torch on, but redirect the flame away from 
your piece until the burning stops. 

• As soon as the burning stops, move in again with the torch, continuing the circular motion 
until the piece turns a peach color. Watch carefully so that your piece doesn't get too 
orange. If you can't see the color change, it may be because your lights are too bright. Set 
your timer for 3 minutes, slowly moving in and out as necessary, attempting to maintain 
the light peach color. You may notice your piece shrinking in size; this is normal. If your 
piece is too hot, it will melt by first turning a bright silver color. If this happens, remove the 
heat immediately. If the piece loses its color, bring it back to its peachy color and start 
your timer again. 

• When the firing is complete (the peachy color is held for 3 minutes.), turn your torch off 
and let your piece cool naturally. To quench your piece, use tweezers to gently pick up 
your item and place it in ajar of water. Be careful! 

• CAUTION: Don't touch the piece with your fingers. Use tweezers! 

© Make Projects 

Page 10 of 11 

PMC Pendants 

Once you've fired all 3 of your pendants, you're ready to use your brass brush and 
burnishing tool to give your pieces a high polish. Support your jewelry while applying even 

pressure with your tools to get the finish you want. 

Presto! Add a jump ring, slip on your cord, and show off your metallic creations. 

If you want your piece to have an antique look, you can use a chemical acid 
solution found at jewelry supply stores. Just follow the manufacturer's instructions. 
The solution can be painted directly onto the charm. The reaction with the air causes an 
oxidation process to occur. When the desired color is achieved, dip the charm into a 
baking soda solution made up of 2Tbsp baking soda to 5 parts water. Plain water will stop 
the oxidation process but the baking soda neutralizes the solution. 

This project first appeared in CRAFT Volume 09 , page 98. 

This document was last generated on 201 2-1 1-03 01 :31 :37 AM. 

© Make Projects 

Page 1 1 of 1 1